Space War Commander

Space War Commander - Amiga
You’d be excused if -by looking at the above screenshot, that is- you were expecting some sort of retro review, and you would also, quite happily, be very wrong. That, you see, is the beauty of indie games: developers and artists that simply create the stuff they like, without trying to appeal to everyone and without having to suffer armies of useless managers telling them what is supposed to be popular (as if any creative person ever really cared about such trivial matters). That is also why Space War Commanderis such a unique game with such unique 16-bit retro style graphics.

Come to think about it, the only thing not unique about Space War Commander (hence SWC) is its name. It’s definitely apt mind, though as far from imaginative as computer game names get. You actually get to assume the role of a commander in what can only be described as a space war. Then again, gamers never really cared for names, did they? It’s the way a game plays that matters or, well, should matter, and SWC plays a great game indeed.

Space War Commander - Amiga

SWC could best be described as an RTS version of a board game with intuitive controls, simple rules, simple sounds and Amiga-like graphics. And don’t expect something at the frantic pace of Command and Conquer or Dune 2. This is a much slower -you can even pause the game completely to issue orders- and way deeper affair, that does away with base building and focuses on resource gathering and -mainly- tactical movement. All you seemingly have to do is buy some ships, group them into fleets if you so wish, left click to select and right-click to move them around, make sure you have a steady influx of resources by conquering planets or even trading (nothing more complicated than another movement selection), and make sure you beat each level before your base explodes. Should a ship or a fleet contact the enemy it will automatically attack it and give you the tactically handy option of disengaging parts of your fleet for repairs, and, well, that’s all there is to it really.

Getting to grips with SWC is thus incredibly easy. Mastering it is wholly different matter, as the aforementioned depth comes into play. Think of SWC’s gameplay as chess with a bit of chance thrown in and you won’t be far off. Each ship has its own unique strengths and weakness and each map its unique tactical necessities, sometimes even making the whole experience feel like an elaborate puzzle game. An excellent, tough and addictive puzzle game to be precise, that would definitely benefit from some multiplayer options.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLjT9ZGyWuU[/youtube]

After all, the only thing SWC really lacks is the chance to pit yourself against another human player in some lovely multiplayer carnage. That and a bit more variety , though all in all it admittedly is a great indie strategy game that will appeal to most PC gamers of the thinking while gaming persuasion. Oh, and it can easily be played in 15 minute chunks too!

Verdict: Simple, deep, addictive, smart and -dare I say- sexy as an Amiga game. You really have to at least try it. Really.

Music of Warcraft 2 Tides of Darkness

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Music of Warcraft 2 Tides of Darkness

The music to Warcraft 2 was as inpiring as MIDI music got. It made the complete Warcraft 2 RTS experience addicting even more as its constant high tempo medieval classical war-like style kept you concentrated and engaged in the ongoing human versus orc war!

WarCraft 2 Tides of Darkness cover
WarCraft 2 Tides of Darkness cover

The way I see history is although there were some minor games with RTS elements in the past the games that made it popular in order were Dune 2, Warcraft, Warcraft 2, Command & Conquer, and lastly Starcraft. Yes, there’s many games that came after them but those were the ones that set the bar for everybody else to try to copy.

The Warcraft 2 Tides of Darkness Soundtrack is so aggressive and so well written that it keep you playing and focused because every single song is great. Not just good, but totally great! I even use this music when I’m busy doing something and I need to be motivated, such as sometimes writing articles for this website. ;]

Now yes, today World of Warcraft became the dominant MMO but way before that Warcraft 2 became one of the top games to play in the mid to late 90s. I played it on a 486 and I can tell you that the DOS version ran a hell of a lot faster than the Windows 3.1 version ever did. It was stable as hell too! These, of course, were the days that required you to configure your PC’s sound card if you ever wanted to hear anything. Still, this is one of those days that actually made it worth it to have a CD-ROM because you could hear CD audio tracks for the music of games such as this one and Mechwarrior 2 as well.

As far as the Warcraft universe and this game goes, I have always favored the Orc (Horde) faction. What did piss me off is that I actually had bought this game and as I read the manual I got so into helping out the Horde that when I got to a mission where I had to kill the Ogre Mage that was the narrator in the manual, it broke my heart! I was rooting for him to be the absolute leader of the Horde!

Zug Zug! Listen up, you humie!

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

PVP vs non-pvp PVE
PVP vs non-pvp PVE

Player versus Player and Player versus Environment was the topic for this week’s show. We were happy to have our good friend Edwin in the studio with us and had a great conversation via Skype with longtime Obsolete Gamer fan, Liz Poisonkiss.

We started off with a recap of last week’s show which featured MMO’s and then moved into our Facebook fanpage question of the week which asked which our fans preferred to play PVE or PVP type games. From there we talked about our Insider Discussion question of the week which asked our panel which had a bigger impact on PC gaming RTS or FPS games.

From there we dove right into the main topic discussing the differences between a FPS mindset playing games such as Quake 2 and the strategy side of RTS games such as the original Warcraft game. Edwin also talked about his online Street Fighter games and said that he preferred to play again a human which we all agreed.

We premiered a new feature on OGS called Skype with a fan where we talk with people who have participated on our Facebook page and Forums and our first guest was longtime fan Liz. Who shared her thoughts on being a gamer girl, fps versus rts and pvp versus pve.

In our final segment Ignacio, Edwin and I discussed our various experiences in PVP from MMO’s to X-box live to arcades. Overall we had a good discussion about an important subject in the world of gaming. So give us a listen and we will be back next week with a brand new show.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

Old Games Versus New Games

Ms Pacman
Ms Pacman

Old Games Versus New Games by Honorabili

Games are like movies

A trend with games is that they behaves a lot in the sense how people watch movies. People will usually rush and go nuts over wanting to watch whatever the latest hit is, as it’s a very popular thing to do or if you’re like me you’ve seen almost everything else, so you might as well. However, there are people that wait until a movie is out on DVD or some even that download the pirated film. Pretty much the same thing happens with gaming (except that usually most games are available quickly within the launch as a pirated version).

New doesn’t necessarily mean good and old doesn’t necessarily mean that a game is a “classic”. A lot of innovations in gaming have happened throughout the years but there are games that were the first to implement such functions, and for that reason, they sometimes became classics. For example, check out Dune 2 as pretty much the first or one of the first real-time strategy (RTS) games that uses the RTS model that we’re used to. However, not all games do become a classic just because they are the first to implement a new technology or functionality. Just look at early CD-ROM full motion video games and you will see an example on how NOT to do a game. People wanted games, not interactive videos, basically.

Like movies, sometimes games get remade. Most movie remakes SUCK or are unnecessary. Some however are necessary or even better, especially when it comes to some sci-fi movies (for me, John Carpenter’s The Thing). The same happens to games but it’s even more necessary. The problem with most gamers is that they are like fans of action movies. Unless a movie has the latest and greatest CGI and shit blowing up and unless it’s relatively new, the typical action movie goer will quickly dismiss it. The same kind of reaction happens to games except that people do this with games unless they are hot that month and have good graphics and ridiculous reviews or every other person is playing it. This is why remakes are needed (and often why they get made).

Game remakes and sequels

The problem comes with remakes of old games is that they don’t just update the graphics. Rarely have I seen simply a graphic revamp of the game. What goes wrong is that they sometimes alter the gameplay that made the original game so great and they simply release something that is so different from the original game in gameplay that the original fans of the game will stay away from the new version and keep playing the old one (and think only noobs would play the new one).

I think a problem that game remakes have is that they decided to ignore the things that made the first one great and they made a new game with stuff that might look like the first game but that’s not really the same. Many studios ignore the innovations that fans made for the original games through mods that sometimes create a better game. I have a feeling that many of these companies don’t make these remakes get tested by loyal and actual fans to the original games.

Apart from remakes sometimes we run into sequels of some old classics. A problem for game companies with sequels is that will they target to make the game more for attracting new players to that franchise or will they decide to make it more for the old fan/purists? The game already is a sequel and some people will prefer to play the previous games first before tackling on the newest game in a series. However, some people will simply just not care. I’m pretty sure that most of the people who play Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare (1) might have not played the first Call of Duty games, especially with how many players for that game might be console gamers.

Comparisons

New games:

New games generally have better graphics. You will usually need the latest generation console or good enough PC parts/OS to be able to enjoy many new games running at the highest settings and with no hardware lag. The cost of new games is much higher than old games. If it’s an MMO that’s new expect to shell out full retail price for the game and then the inflated subscription fee since most MMO companies think their game is a godsend and everybody will pay up.

New games are usually what’s popular at the time. It’s like fashion, almost. The typical gamer will usually be ranting, raving, and bragging about how good the newest game is. Newer games usually have better multiplayer components, some with built in voice chat, friends lists, etc. New games are becoming more inmersive, taking away some of the imagination needed to play some older games.

Old games:
You will need an old gaming console (if you want to play a non-emulated version), an okay computer (to play an emulated version), or almost any old gaming PC to play an old computer game. The price for old games is either really low or free. As games get older, unless it’s a classic you might find yourself as one of the few active players out of the people you know who is playing that game right now. It’s harder to get multiplayer games going because the typical person will think that game is obsolete and will just brush it aside.

Depending on the game some people might find older games more indepth as far as hours you can get out of such a game, whether in the amount of content they have, or simply that they are actually much more replayable than the fast food generation content of new games.

Old games sometimes feel like you’re interacting with a piece of art, a piece of history.

Conclusion: so what’s my point?

Overall, I don’t really care what you play, so long as what you play is FUN, it makes you feel better about your life, it changes your life for the better, it hopefully teaches you something, and sometimes makes you better as a gamer (trains you to think better, react better, interact better with people).

We all play games for our own reasons. So long as you’re doing it for a good one and not making it feel like it’s a job for you (as some MMOs and grinding games make me feel) then it will be a worthwhile experience for you to have. There’s are so many games to play out there that if you start to feel like you’re just a cog in the machine, it’s usually a good idea for you to start playing something different. Stagnation is never a good thing. This can also go along with people who just play the same old games and will not grow as a gamer.

What will you prefer to play often? Old or new games? Leave your comments below or on our social sites as well! Let’s get some feedback!